The Nigerian Bar Association, Abakaliki branch has condemned the alleged incessant extortion of motorists by soldiers along major roads in Ebonyi State.
The Chairman of the association, Victor Anyanwu, made the condemnation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Thursday.
Anyanwu said the anomaly was extensively discussed and condemned by the association at its meeting in the state.
He alleged that soldiers, while perpetrating the act, caused traffic congestion along the roads, which inconvenienced motorists and put them at risk.
He said: “They do not care who is watching them and this act, which hitherto was associated with a particular security outfit, has become an eyesore.
“We call on relevant army authorities in the country to check this shameful practice for the preservation of its integrity.”
He said the act was mostly being perpetrated along the Abakaliki-Enugu and Afikpo-Okigwe federal highways.
Anyanwu said: “We are, however, making concerted efforts to consult the army authorities on the issue to ensure that it is permanently curbed.”
Colonel Sagir Musa, the Deputy Director, Public Relations at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, however told NAN that the army does not condone acts such as extortion.
Musa said: “We do not encourage indiscipline or any form of professional misconduct as any soldier seen extorting money from motorists on the road should be reported.
“Appropriate sanctions will be applied because such act is against our Code of Conduct and won’t be tolerated when established.”
Musa noted that the army had embarked on routine patrols and supervision to ensure adequate compliance with the rules of engagement and Code of Conduct.